After playing such a strong game against the Happy Valley Warriors earlier in the week, it was as though someone had pulled the plug on the Longhorns against the Elizabethton Cyclones. The fire and spirit that fans saw at home was simply gone in Elizabethton. The normally strong defense did little to hold the Cyclones back and the few points that Johnson County were able to gain did not come easy, especially in the first half.
Theyre good, no doubt about it, and were young, said Head Coach Austin Atwood. It showed tonight, but we just didnt play with the same type of intensity that weve had lately. We were a pass behind from the very first three. The Longhorns were able to get a couple of baskets early in the first quarter, but then went into an extremely long dry spell that lasted all the way through the first quarter and half of the second. Even more disappointingly, Johnson Countys defense simply could not put up pressure against Elizabethton. By the time the Longhorns scored again, they were already down 4-20. Even then what little gains were made came mostly from free throws, with only three actual buckets in the whole first half.
The foul shots were fairly accurate for the night, and by the third quarter, the Longhorns were still able to put up 15 to Elizabethtons 32. It was our defense, said Atwood. We were slow. Our defense was terrible. They just didnt play like they did against Happy Valley where we were a shot ahead and contested every shot. Weve not had a good practice, and thats got a lot to do with the coaching too. Weve just not done a lot of good over the last week.
The second half went a little better with Chase Phillips landing a couple of shots, but there were still long stretches where there was no scoring at all. By the fourth quarter, the Longhorns were looking at a lead that was double their own and little hope of even headway toward closing the gap. Johnson County struggled on through the last few painful minutes of the game, making some slight progress, but again limited to the foul line.
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